As the new school year begins, the agency that sets policy for Maryland’s colleges, universities and private career schools is reminding students not to forget about MOM. No, not that one. In this case, MOM stands for Masks on Maryland.

#MasksOnMaryland is a statewide initiative to encourage residents and visitors to wear masks properly, practice social distancing and adhere to Centers for Disease Control hygiene practices to fight the spread of COVID-19. Components of the campaign are meant to appeal to a wide range of Marylanders, but especially to people aged 18 to 34 and those who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including Maryland’s Hispanic and African American communities. The campaign includes radio, digital, TV and social media ads. Local “influencers” will also help spread the message that residents can “carry on” when they “mask on.”

Travelers are also encouraged to post pictures at businesses and destinations that have masked their iconic mascots, characters, sculptures, etc. by using one or all of the hashtags #MasksOnMaryland; #MDinFocus; #PhysicalDistancing. One example is the masked ‘Forever Marilyn’ art sculpture at National Harbor.

A series of public service announcements are also expected to air including two produced in partnership with the Baltimore Ravens tight end starter Mark Andrews, who urges fans to “Protect the Flock,” and Brandon Hyde, manager for the Baltimore Orioles, who encourages listeners to “take the lead” to keep our friends and neighbors “in the game.”

For its part, the Maryland Higher Education Commission is encouraging the state’s higher education students, staff and faculty to “spread the word, not the virus” through individual schools’ networks and social media platforms. Students are encouraged to post their own masked pictures that can be posted and shared on the schools’ social media outlets.

“The Maryland higher education community spans across the entire state, and this campaign is a reminder that we have to work together, as a community, and encourage each other to stay vigilant during these uncertain times,” Governor Larry Hogan said in a press release.

The Maryland Higher Education Commission has produced two videos so far, with more expected in the future that can be individualized or shared. Most of Maryland’s higher education institutions have begun the year online.

YouTube video

“Whether students are online or on campus, never underestimate the power of our higher education community to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Higher Education Secretary James Fielder, who said he is hoping that grabbing a mask will become second nature for students. “We are a community of approximately 380,000 students and more than 47,000 faculty and staff members, all supporting Maryland’s 175 postsecondary institutions in Maryland. I want our students to know that when it comes to fighting COVID, we are all in this together.”

To get more info about the #MasksOnMaryland campaign, visit Information about COVID-19 developments in the state can be found at​

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Walinda West

Walinda West is an experienced communications professional who has served a variety of clients at the local, state and national level and is a longtime writer for Baltimore Fishbowl.